Tag Archives: Protect Transgender Women

Trans Woman of Colour Murder in L.A Signals Third Death in 6 Months

According to statistics, the acceptance of LGB people across the United States is on the rise. Sadly, the same cannot be said about trans* acceptance which appears to be on the decline.

Even as famous trans women of colour such as Laverne Cox (who plays trans inmate Sophia Burset in Orange is the New Black) and outspoken advocate Janet Mock gain popularity, the benefits of positive reputation aren’t being reaped by everybody in the trans* community. Instead, recently the US has seen a notable uptick in trans* hate crimes including verbal abuse, violence and sometimes even murder.

It’s murder that another trans woman of colour has again been faced with, with the Los Angeles Police Department (the LAPD) reporting that her death took place on Wednesday the 3rd of December. It signals the third murder of a trans woman of colour in just six months.

According to the LAPD, the victim, Deshawnda Sanchez, was fleeing after being robbed. Sanchez called 911 at 4am before running to a cul-de-sac, banging on the door of a Compton home in an attempt to find safety. Unfortunately, by the time the occupant of the house was able to let her in, gunshots were fired and the person who was chasing Sanchez had left her for dead and had driven away from the scene of the crime in a “light coloured compact car”.

Officially, the police are classing the tragic events as a robbery and homicide, however, as Sanchez was a trans woman of colour Los Angeles police Det. Christopher Barling has said that they are considering that it may have been a hate crime. Barling told Buzzfeed News that he is “very open to the fact that may be the case”.

It’s especially important that they look into that line of inquiry given that the murders of trans women of colour are on the rise at an alarming rate. Sanchez’ death signals the third in just a matter of months with Aniya Knee Parker and trans activist Zoraida “Ale” Reyes also having been killed in Los Angeles earlier this year.

Furthermore, a report published by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations notes that 19 trans* people were targeted in violent hate crimes in 2013, making that a 46% increased on the year before (there were 13 attacks in 2012). With shocking statistics like these it’s all the more important that the LAPD finds the perpetrator and brings them to justice, marking a small step in preventing more crimes like these from happening.

HRC Renews Call for Stronger Efforts to Protect Transgender Women

In response to the violent attack of a 15-year old transgender teenager on the DC metro this week, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has renewed calls for stronger measures to protect transgender people – especially transgender women of color – from violence and harassment.

According to the reports, friends who were with the victim at the time, said she was approached by a stranger who ‘asked her why she was wearing a wig and insulted her appearance’ before attacking her with a knife. The victim – who has not been identified because she is minor – is in stable condition and the police have a suspect in custody.

“Attacking a child is always utterly reprehensible and our hearts and thoughts are with the victim and her family. This terrible incident fits within a broader trend of violence against transgender people and especially transgender women of color. While there are no easy answers on how to end this violence, that’s no excuse for inaction.

All of us must do more – from states and municipalities to LGBT organizations like HRC. We’re committed to reaching out to and working with leaders in the transgender community -inside and outside of HRC- to identify ways in which we can be a part of the solution.”

Fred Sainz, HRC’s Vice President of Communications

This attack comes in midst of a series of violent incidents against the transgender community – including the murder of six women of color just this year.

The 2011 report from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force on the experiences of transgender Americans found that nationally, black transgender and gender non-conforming people often live in extreme poverty, with 34% reporting a household income of less than $10,000/year, eight times the rate of the general U.S. population.

Transgender women of color face disproportionate levels in violence in comparison to other members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. According to a report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), 72 percent of LGBTQ homicide victims in 2013 were transgender women and 89 percent were people of color. Discrimination in employment, healthcare, and persistent racism can reinforce one another to place transgender people of color at greater risk for poverty and violence.

“Anti-bullying programs that address anti-LGBT and gender-based harassment and bullying will help to thwart this hostile, violent behavior. We would encourage educators, parents, counselors, community leaders to talk to young adults about respecting difference, about the “golden rule” and not to target people based on how they look or what they wear.”

Fred Sainz, HRC’s Vice President of Communications